Forged Destiny

Light Forest, past the river Osh, NE of Hyde farmstead
Globlurg, Bullywug Archer

The scouting was going well. It was realtively easy work, sitting back on Manylegs’ chitinous shell while Floglorp guided their centipede steed through the forest’s undergrowth.

They’d scouted near the pink-skin’s strangely shaped huts and across their growing mud. Their defenses seemed weak, and Chieftan Rrrobtob would be able to easily demand tribute from them. Surely Floglorp and Globlurg would do well to get a little tribute for themselves before they reported back to the camp.

“Hey, Floglorp!” the archer croaked, “Lets grab a couple pink-skins for warm tummys and showing of trophy time.”

“Quiet tadpole!” barked Floglorp over his shoulder, “Its the lancer’s job to guide the scouting party, and I say we should grab some pink-skins for the eatings and trophy time! You just do the shoot bow and writing mud!”

Globlurg smirked at Floglorp’s back. He was such a great lancer; aggressive, strong, and easily manipulated.

Floglorp continued to guide Manylegs through the forest, while Globlurg napped. He was supposed to be keeping watch, but why? No elf or forest ogre would dare confront them! They were bullywug! They were mighty! Floglorp reigned in sharply and Globlurg lurched fully alert.

“Look! Pink yummy!” The lancer guided their massive centipede over and down a ridge of broken rock down into a ravine. Globlurg, at the back of their steed was still ten feet away from the edge of the ravine and had no idea yet what his companion had spied. But readied his bow in anticipation.

With a war whoop, the lancer moved to engage a small group of travellers. Globlurg briefly wondered if it might have been easier to threaten them for tribute instead, but no matter. They were bullywug! They were mighty! He looked at their victims with growing excitement.

Yes! A couple of small young ones with a parent! Some metal clank walker was there to guard them, but they could easily take down the parent before it could react. They’d easily rip this group to pieces.

Manylegs snapped at an unarmoured traveller and Floglorp poked at it with his spear but it nimbly jumped out of the way. It seemed unafraid, spinning a stick of wood in response. Gloglurg shot his bow at the boy-thing, hitting it in the shoulder next to its hairy beard face. Beard face? Oh it was a gnome! Tasty! Suddenly a mound of earth appeared before the gnome, blocking it from view and giving it cover from further attacks.

The girl child was wearing metal armor and that was strange. She was not a child but a halfling! Oh soooooo tasty! But it seemed like she and the bigger one with the stick were keeping Manylegs and Floglorp busy with a flurry of attacks. The crafty archer had second thoughts, and looked longingly at the ridge behind him.

Mighty Floglorp was rising to the challenge! He pierced the man through its chest and into the ground, leaving it clearly near death. They would win! They were mighty! Globlurg had third thoughts and shot arrows at his enemies!

But the tide of battle turned once more. The halfling yanked hard on her whip, wrapped around Floglorp’s neck; yanking him from his saddle and tumbling to the ground. He landed hard, with his head tilted at an improbable angle. The metal clank-thing had joined the battle and was kneeling next to the man on the ground with glowing metal hands. A metal clank shaman? What was that thing?

A chilling ghostly hand lashed at him from the spirit world! Ach! Ghosts too?!? That gnome was cackling with glee and probably making obscene gestures at him. Or maybe doing more gnome magics. Globlurg had fourth thoughts about this fight. And fifth and sixth ones too. All thoughts were the same! Get away away away!

Globlurg jumped up onto the ridge behind him, leaving the now dead centipede behind as well.
“Bad idea Floglorp! Bad idea! No hunt pink skin, should just headed back to camp like I said!”

Globlurg felt a sharp lash as the halfling’s whip tangled around his fat neck.

“Florgrmph” he cried as it suddenly….

Hyde Farmstead
Janie Hyde - Farmer

“I’m RUINED!!!” her husband wailed. "I"m ruined and now we’ll staaaaaarve!" Vernon continued to wail in a panicked voice. He stood no less then ten feet away from the creature, hands on the sides of his head. One of her farmhands, Roger, stood nearby with a small bale of hay, half holding it in front like some sort of a shield and half ready to throw it at the creature in a weak attempt to drive it off.

All around her was chaos. Janie had scarcely noticed the hippogriff as it swooped down from the sky. It made short work of the poor sheep they’d just corralled for shearing. Peggy was screaming, and that mangy mutt of hers barked madly as the beast tore the sheep’s carcass, swallowing huge gobbets of red dripping meat.

Time seemed to slow for her as the entire scene burned into her mind with crystal clarity.

Olaf and Norbet, the layabouts, promptly stopped working, sitting down to eat their lunch, like the destruction of her herd was some travelling minstrel’s show.

Lukas Hogsman, the swine herd, stood shakily by his pigs with a hoe in his hands, unsure how he could defend them against such a creature.

Her sheep, trapped in the pen with the hippogriff cried with terror as they fruitlessly pushed between each other looking for escape.

Her children, young Timmy and Mary Lou were running down the street to see what the commotion was about.

All at once thoughts pieced themselves together in her mind, coalescing from a useless jumble.
If Peggy’s mongrel moved in and nipped at the creature….
If Roger tossed that bale of hay at it and angered it…
If Vernon took two more steps closer and threatened it…
Her children, running so fast! So fast! No no no no, its just a sheep no no no no!

And just as suddenly they were there.
The strangers from the ship. The new guildsmen, come to set things right.
Swift as a striking cougar, the half elf had lept into the pen with the hippogriff and cracked its skull with his staff. The halfling darted between the fence posts to smack it with her flail. The gnomish wizard spoke but a word and a ghostly hand tore at the beast. She even saw what she thought must have been the wizard’s golem, call down a radiant bolt of lighting into the creature.

And it was dead.

Janie was so relieved and confused, she wasn’t sure if she should cry for joy, or sob from the release of the sudden terror.

The guildsmen simply smiled and nodded, like nothing unusual had happened, instilling an instant sense of calm about them. They searched the rest of the fields, but not before the halfling swiped Norbet’s ale from his dumbfounded grip, drank it down, and handed him back his empty cup, offering nothing in return but a wink and a broad smile.
“Fightin’ must build up a powerful thirst.” said Olaf, holding his cup guardedly with both hands.
“Ayup.” said Norbet.

In the distance, Janie heard the golem speak to the others, calling them over to look at the strange tracks in the fields that had appeared overnight.

“Mommy look! Its dead!” said Timmy as he began to poke the hippogriff with a stick.
“Can I haff the feathers? They soft!” said Mary Lou, plucking a two foot long feather from the beast’s neck.

“Hush children, now is not the time. There is work to be done.” Janie eyed the hippogriff’s body. She figured if horsemeat could be eaten, why not hippogriff?
“Roger! Get to butcherin’ that thing and the rest of that sheep right away!”
“Vernon! Stop standing there gaping about and get to shearing! You too Olaf!”
Norbet get those crates over here!"
“Peggy! Get the loom set up, I figure we need to make some wool cloaks and blankets for our new protectors. We might not have any gold to thank them. But we’re good folk, and we’ll give what we can. We’ll do right by these new guildsmen, aye?”

“Aye ma’am” they answered, “Right away missus!” And they scrambled away to help.

“Baaaaa!” called the terrified sheep. “Baaaaaaaa!”

“Stop standing there Lukas! Have you gone simple?! Get to helpin!”

Captains log, day 26, voyage to Nova Fortunae
Captain Jarrett Springfield

Captain Springfield rested his arms against the railing and looked forward across the deck. He considered the four members of the Company that had come aboard for the long voyage. They seemed capable enough, each in their own way, but also seemed a motley bunch.
There was Nif, a half-elven aesthetic, that performed odd stretching exercises and frequently meditated at the bow of the ship with a strange silent calm.
And Torin, one of the wee gnomish folk, far from the forests they usually called home. He’d entertained the crew and passangers with many stories and tricks of magic. But more than anything Jarrett had learned to not play cards or dice with the wily gnome or he’d find he’d lost his gold, his ship, and even his smallclothes in some rigged game of chance. He did purchase a couple of holy symbols from Torin however. One never could be too careful with the gods.
Which brought him to the third member of that group. If it wasn’t a mechanika! Jarrett knew that the Empress (blessed be her rule) had decreed that those things were just a new type of people like everyone else, but he had a hard time adjusting to the idea at first. It had even named itself! Healbo it was called. But even more strange, it was an honest to goodness priest of Gond. The captain smiled at the thought, and had to admit, there wasn’t a lick of scury, a fractured arm, or even a stubbed toe that wasn’t cured by the mechanical man’s divine aid.
Then there was Fen. A small lithe halfling, stronger than she looked, Fen just…. got along with everyone. It didn’t matter who it was, everyone liked Fen. With a quick joke or a wink, she’d appear out of nowhere, usually with a drink in hand. She’d been too humble to make much of it, but one of the passengers told him what she’d done up north in the town of Troubaloose. She’d protected the town from a rampaging giant that had come down from the mountains. The tiny thing, all by herself!
It wouldn’t be much longer now. They’d sighted land yesterday and should be at the end of their trip within a couple of days.

“Ahoy the captain! Movement in the water off the starboard bow!” Nif’s voice floated down from the crows nest. That monk had eyesight sharper than an eagle’s.

The captain raised his spyglass to his eye and took a look. Sure enough, there was movement in the water, approaching fast. He recognized what he saw coming, and it wasn’t good.
“Mister Merryweather!” he called. “Sound general quarters and get all of the colonists below decks. It seems the Sahuagin want to test their spears against our steel.”

His first mate scrambled to comply, rushing below decks. As the barbaric fishlike humanoids swam up in an attempt to board his ship, Captain Springfield thought again of the four heroes aboard his ship. It was time to find out just how capable they were.

Captains log, day 1, voyage to Nova Fortunae
Captain Jarrett Springfield

Jarrett Springfield surveyed the docks while the longshoremen loaded his ship, the Dawn Chaser. The burly dock workers were efficient, loading boxes and crates of supplies, barrels of food, and personal effects of the passengers booking passage aboard his ship. It was a long trip, over a month each way, and the various food and sundries had to support his crew and the score of passengers he was transporting to the new colony. The Merchant Adventurer Company had hired him for transport, and he’d make sure he made good on the contract. Besides, this trip included four members of the Company heading to assist the colony directly. The Company’s coin was good, and Captain Springfield’s word was his bond. Once he’d started something, he’d see it though to the end. He didn’t earn the nickname ‘Relentless’ for nothing.

Shipping to the new colony wasn’t something many captains would dare try. It was a long trip across the trackless seas, and if you didn’t navigate properly, you’d be lost for certain. But he’d made two voyages previously to that poor forsaken place, proving himself a reliable captain. Unfortunately each trip had been more depressing than the last. That colony was hanging on by a thread, and none of these poor souls realized it. They thought they were heading to a land of milk and honey.

“Nothing there but mud and shit.” he said to no one in particular, though a couple of dockworkers did give him a worried look.

He spat twice over his left shoulder, to ward off evil spirits, and drew forth the offering bag from his belt pouch. The small sack smelled of spice and was carefully packed with ‘mystic’ tokens that the dockside priest said would please the gods beneath the waves. He slipped it into the water, murmuring a quick prayer for a safe voyage. Then, Taking a deep breath, stepped off the docks and started another voyage across the Vast Ocean.

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